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story openings

One Simple Trick to Avoid an Opening Page Infodump

No dumping sign with text: Warning: No Dumping on Page One

It’s hard to get our opening pages just right because we have to grab readers’ attention, introduce our characters and the story world, hint at a problem, etc. With everything we want to get across to the reader, we might dump too much information. How can we avoid info dumping or confusing readers at the beginning of our story?

July 4, 2017

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Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

Open organizer with text: Getting Organized for Nano

It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo, and if you’re anything like me, you might be freaking out a little as November nears. So here are several quick links to posts helping us plan, start, and get unstuck with our story.

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October 25, 2016

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Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

Lone footprint in the sand with text: What's the Context?

Story beginnings are difficult to get right. We have to introduce the characters, the story, the setting, the protagonist’s longing, and show an immediate obstacle that creates a near-term goal. At the same time, we have to avoid confusing readers, and for that, we need context.

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August 11, 2016

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How to Weave Story Elements and Avoid Info Dumps

Garbage can with text: No Info Dumps Allowed

Our stories consist of many elements—from backstory to dialogue—that each contribute to our story. Yet we can overdo those elements with an information dump. How can we include the different elements while making sure we don’t cross over into Info Dump Land? Let’s talk options…

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March 10, 2016

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Happy New Year! Let’s Talk (Story) Beginnings

Book open to Chapter 1 with text: 3 Steps to Our Story's Beginning

We’re almost to the new year, so let’s take those thoughts of new beginnings over to our stories. Most writers have probably struggled with a story’s opening, but if we start from the big picture and move to the specific, we might have an easier time finding the right beginning for our story.

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December 31, 2015

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What Are Your Favorite Writing-Related Books?

Shadow of reading glasses create a heart on a book with text: What Are Your Favorite Writing Books?

I’ve added a page to my site to list my favorite writing craft and reference books. I’ve added several books that I thought of off the top of my head, but I know I’m forgetting a bunch too. So let me share the books I thought of, and let’s see what others have to add to the suggestions.

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February 19, 2015

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Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

A face hidden by a hoodie with text: When Should Readers Meet the Protagonist?

Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. If we understand why the protagonist usually works best as the point-of-view character for the first page, we might be able to remake those exceptions into stronger openings.

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February 17, 2015

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